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Ending Poverty with Tech + Lawyers

This afternoon I was privileged to attend the final presentations in the new Stanford class Ending Poverty with Technology. This class is taught by Sociology professor David Grusky, in conjunction with the Stanford Center on Poverty & Inequality, of which he is a co-director. I came to hear and review these presentations because one of the

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Know Your Rights magic word app from Brazil

One of my Brazilian students in my Prototyping Access to Justice class alerted me to a very cool app in Brazil, all about empowering people about their legal rights. It’s called Carteirada do Bem. It’s a native app (on Android) and (on ioS) + a website. It is put out by the assembly of Rio

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Open Legal Documents from The OpenGov Foundation

The OpenGov Foundation has a project called Open Legal Documents. They have several projects about making government more open, transparent, and people-friendly. One way they do this is to post a Github of legal docs for others to use as templates for their own work. Rather than having legal docs as precious things to keep

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Photo Walkthroughs as legal guides

What are better ways to help people follow a legal process? To get all the tasks, forms, consults, and decisions made to get to resolution? One mode I’ve been experimenting with in my Prototyping Access to Justice class is the photo storyboard. Using Google Sheets (or Powerpoint), I lay out a series of photos I’ve

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Law By Design, the book

I have just released the first working version of my book, Law By Design. It is meant for people in the legal system, to understand how design process, mindsets, and patterns can help them solve the big challenges they are facing. I have compiled my notes, insights, and work into these chapters to lay out

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A Vision of the Next Generation JD

For the Hack the JD event this past weekend at Santa Barbara’s College of Law, I was asked to prep a 5 minute elevator pitch of what I saw as the future of law education. I made this image to sum it up — at least for a certain type of law student, who was

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Hack the JD charts out new courses for legal ed

This past weekend, I spent two very gloriously sunny days in Santa Barbara’s College of Law, in windowless rooms, planning what a better way to educate future lawyers might look like. The event was hosted by Santa Barbara College of Law, which is a small, ‘opportunity’ school that has a small class of night students,

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The Prototype Journey: from post-it to wizard-of-oz

In our Prototyping Access to Justice class, Kursat Ozenc and I are leading student teams to get quickly from speculating about how the courts could be improved to implementing new concepts. In our class today, in week 3 of the course, we had the students make some more progress along the Journey of Prototypes. The

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Prolonged Detention Stories: humanized, interactive legal brief

Prolonged Detention Stories is a website that humanizes, and makes interactive, a legal brief. It’s a simple and beautiful design, that lays out not only what legal arguments against prolonged detention are, but also puts human faces and scenarios on them. The group, a partnership of Community Initiatives for Visiting Immigrants in Confinement (CIVIC) and the

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Evidence collection app for human rights abuses, eyeWitness

The International Bar Association has published the app eyeWitness, to allow people on the ground, in situations where atrocities are occurring, to gather evidence. The system they’ve set up also verifies this evidence. The central value is to help the gathering of court-admissible evidence, to help bring justice to those perpetrating crimes and empower human

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IP Lawyer Training Game

The Business Development Bank of Canada has an online simulation game that’s meant for training in Intellectual Property as applied to entrepreneurs. It’s not necessarily built to train lawyers, but more for anyone who works with/as an entrepreneur to help spot IP and other legal issues and get started on dealing with them. Here are the

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A Fourth Way for Law Students

I have been talking with lots of 2Ls, 3Ls, and newly minted JDs over the past year, about what other kinds of career tracks are open to young lawyers. I’ve been advising them not to take corporate jobs just to pay off debt or get experience (the default advice I was given coming out of

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Constitute Project lets you search and compare legal texts

Constitute is an interesting new web-app/design that is all about examining the different constitutions. It lets you choose multiple constitutions to compare against each other, and also filter for certain types of terms and functions that you’re concerned with. You can put multiple documents next to each other, and then click on a certain topic

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TermsFeed as a legal clause generator service

TermsFeed is an online legal service that lets any user (most often the owner of a website or an app) generate the legal terms and conditions they need to protect themselves and their users. It’s done by leading the user through a series of simple binary questions, and then delivering them a privacy policy, EULA, or

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6 Core Principles of Good Legal Design

This post was originally published over on Stanford Legal Design Lab’s Medium publication, Legal Design and Innovation. Enjoy! Out of all the workshops, design cycles, and product development that we’ve worked on at the Legal Design Lab, there are a few key principles that have emerged. The concepts that have these types of features are

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Lawbot as a chatbot lawyer for crim

A team from the University of Cambridge have launched Lawbot (BETA), an interactive conversational tool that can consult people on their possible legal situations. It’s a British tool, covering only criminal offenses in England and Wales. It lets people ask questions about their situation and figure out what the law would say. The team built

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Participatory-Agile design cycle plan

I have been thinking about better ways to integrate the quick-development cycle of the Agile Design Process, and the community-driven spirit of Participatory Design. Here is my initial plan for what such a process would entail. The goal would be to run several of these cycles, in order to try out several different concepts rapidly.

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Center for Civic Design and usable elections

Thanks to Aaron Stienstra for linking me to the Center for Civic Design, an effort to bring good design to elections and ballots. They are a non-profit who take information design, usability, and plain language to the cause of making election materials easier to comprehend and ballots easier to use. The Center publishes Field Guides

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Does law school make students less creative?

Here is a short set of notes that are slightly provocative, aimed at both law school leaders and faculty, and the students who are choosing whether and how to attend law school. The notes come from a discussion in my Intro to Legal Design course, in which visiting guests and the law students discussed the

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Legal Research primer as a coloring book

CALI has published a coloring book authored by three librarians, Elizabeth Gotauco, Nicole Dyszlewski, and Raquel M. Ortiz, that gives an introductory primer on how to do legal research. Along with essential information, it also provides line drawings for the reader to color in. The PDF version of the book is free online, so you

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Social innovation with law schools as a driver

The dean of Osgoode Law School in Toronto, Lorne Sossin, has an interesting new post out about the new roles of law schools in developing problem-solvers and social change. He sees the rise of the new labs, courses, and professional tracks in law schools that focus on innovation and technology as a promise for law

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Sparking 2 kinds of ‘Originals’ in legal innovation

I’ve been reading Wharton professor Adam Grant’s recent book Originals, that documents how new ideas and products emerge out of staid industries and bureaucracies. There’s a central point that he makes which links straight back to design thinking: The systems we live in need questioning — they need people to ask “Why, Why, Why, Why?” They need

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The Bots Are Coming! (to legal services…)

Last week, it was great to see a short article making the rounds about a new chat-bot legal service coded and launched by a Stanford undergrad student, Joshua Browder. It’s DoNotPay, a bot that asks the user questions and figures out if they can get out of parking tickets or compensated for another ‘service gone

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